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Failed Leadership

A couple of prominent Republican talking heads were on the flat screen yesterday.  They both blamed Republican leaders for the latest virus surge and the raging pandemic. At this point, if GOPers want to run around without masks, have had it and die. I don’t give a sh_t anymore. 

Honestly, I never thought Gov. Greg Abbott would be this much of a choker, failure, coward and more.  In one of the biggest challenges in our lifetime, this fella has tanked big time.  You can’t argue with me.   

His latest executive order to have DPS troopers stop vehicles along the border is just outright insane.  Here is what one of my best friends Sen. Carol Alvarado tweeted last night: 

This attack on migrants & charities is a blatant culture war distraction from the REAL problems we should be solving:  

Fix the skyrocketing #Covid rate  

Protect our children from Covid in schools  

Improve our low vaccination rate 

Expand Medicaid  

Oh & #fixthegrid already 

The Delta variant is raging across the state and this Abbott fool is pulling his stupid macho sh_t. 

The Chron E-Board called Abbott out on masks in schools today and here is how they ended their take: 

Governor, rescind your prohibition on commonsense mask requirements that superintendents across Texas implemented successfully last year. We’re not asking you to lead. We’re just asking you to get out of the way so others can. 

Here is the entire E-Board take: Editorial: Gov. Abbott, if you won’t lead on masks, get out of the way so school leaders can (houstonchronicle.com). 

That pretty much sums it up.  The fella has failed Texas.  Just get out of the way and let locals do their jobs. 

We won last night and have today off. Tomorrow we open a weekend series in San Francisco. Some are saying that the Astros and Giants will meet up again in the World Series in October.  Commentary is not going to go there.  We still have 59 games left on the schedule.  We are making trades.  Let’s see if we make a major trade in the next day or so. Alex Bregman is doing a rehab assignment.  We will see. 

How many people have to die of COVID-19 in Texas and the USA before folks realize the personal responsibility thing doesn’t work?  Folks like Donald Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott botched the handling of the pandemic starting a year and a half ago. They both got scared and caved.  

Abbott took away local control on mask mandates and now look where we are.  There is a meaner COVID virus out there and is a lot more deadly and dangerous.  It spreads easier and even if you are vaccinated you can still catch it and spread it.  Going the personal responsibility route isn’t going to cut it. We should have mandated masks and the vaccine, and we’d have been done a few months ago. 

I would like to think that I will continue to hunker down and wait until more folks get the vaccine, the virus takes down the rest of the dumbarses and things will return to normal.  That’s probably not going to happen.  We could see a mutated version of the current Delta variant thanks to so-called personal responsibility. 

The Chron’s Erica Grieder has a column today on sort of the same stuff and here are parts: 

But what’s also worrisome is that we’re heading into the next phase of this pandemic without clear state leadership — and, indeed, with state leaders who have indefensibly tied the hands of local officials. 

Abbott has seemed more interested in bullying local officials than working with them, eager to declare victory and reopen the state even when medical professionals said it was way too early to do so. 

Remember this Abbott declaration from an April 2020 press conference: “We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus.” 

It was apparent long ago that his triumphalism was misplaced, but now, the consequences of this hubris are coming to the fore. As COVID-19 has begun spreading through red states where governors forbade mask mandates and even mocked them, Republican governors are starting to change their tone. Even Abbott. 

“The #COVID19 vaccine is safe, effective, and your best defense against the virus. Don’t wait – get vaccinated today!” Abbott tweeted Friday, without adding his customary caveat: “Always voluntary, never forced.” 

Abbott and peers such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a fellow Republican, have apparently realized they may face consequences as a result of this preventable fourth wave — at the ballot box, if nowhere else. 

Their push for vaccinations is late but welcome nonetheless. Still, it may be insufficient, with the Delta variant now circulating widely across the state and in the Houston area. 

And that raises the question: What is Abbott’s plan for the Delta variant in Texas? Does he have one? It apparently doesn’t include allowing local school officials to make the best decisions for their respective students when it comes to requiring masks, even though children under age 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. 

“The time for government mask mandates is over — now is the time for personal responsibility,” Abbott tweeted on his personal Twitter feed on Tuesday. “In May, I signed an executive order prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities. Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks.” 

We shouldn’t expect Abbott to stop playing to his base and start following the science, at this point. But the governor should definitely stop standing in the way of Texans who choose to do so. Would that be too much to ask? 

Here is her entire column: Grieder: Does Gov. Abbott have a plan for the Delta variant other than tying local officials’ hands? (houstonchronicle.com). 

That was very strong testimony yesterday at the January 6 hearing.  The GOP looked stupid and cowardly.

We won last night and have a six-game lead. 

George P got the P last night. As in punkarsed by Donald Trump. That’s hilarious. He’s had a bad rollout.  He botched the handout of the billion dollar Hurricane Harvey grant dollars.  He got ripped Sunday by the Chron/Trib for letting vets die from COVID in GLO run vet retirement homes. His brownnose Trump koozie was trending last night.  Well, deserved.   

I don’t know why he thought he would get Trump’s endorsement.  Jeb is still his daddy 

State Rep. Jim Murphy tweeted this, whatever the heck it means: 

Due to the work we did on healthcare this past session, Texas is a model for conservative health care reform. Thank you Speaker  @DadePhelan for your leadership on this issue. #txlege 

We have one of the lousiest health insurance covered populations and he wants to celebrate this? Knucklehead. 

In 1992, when Bush 41 was president, the GOP decided to hold the 1992 Republican National Convention at the Astrodome. You know, to showcase 41’s hometown and get him a boost.  In order to prepare the Dome for a convention, the Astros would have to be on the road like for four weeks.   

Twenty-nine years ago today, the Astros embarked on the roadie of all roadies.  They traveled to The ATL, then to Cincinnati, LA, San Diego, San Francisco and Chicago.  Then they came home to do their laundry and went back out to San Luis and Philly and then came home. 26 games and 2 days off. 

Art Howe was our Skipper and we had players like Biggio, Baggy, and Caminiti. 

I happened to run across a poster commemorating the trip. 

Fix the gridiron.  Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted this last night: 

With the announcement by UT today, & possible SEC invitation this week, I asked  @SenJaneNelson to chair a new Select Committee on the Future of College Sports in Texas, to study the athletic & economic impact to TX schools & communities by UT’s exit. Hearing will be 8/2 #txlege 

Commentary is always learning stuff.  My new ride came with a three-month trial  subscription to SiriusXM. I went online and to see if I could get them not to charge me for my subscription for my old ride.  I was able to, and they set me up to start charging me once my trial subscription was done – sometime in October.  In the process, I learned that my radio had an ID number. I did not know that. 

We jumped to a 7-zip lead last night and lost 11-8. Go figure. 

Wear your mask. 

GLOw

This George P fella can’t run a state agency. He botched the Hurricane Harvey fund distribution and now he let veterans die during the pandemic.  Here is from an excellent investigative piece by the Chron’s Jay Root and the Trib’s Shannon Najmabadi and Carla Astudillo:  

Mary Kay Dieterich was encouraged last year when Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush promised to shake up the management of the El Paso nursing home where her father died of COVID-19. 

She knew it wouldn’t bring Eugene Forti, a World War II veteran, back to life. But as the top elected official in charge of all nine of the state’s nursing homes catering to veterans in Texas, Bush certainly had the power to hold the private management company accountable for what Dieterich saw as a botched response to the pandemic. 

Yet, despite telling the for-profit operator of the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home that he was “deeply concerned” about the care it was providing in El Paso, Bush’s promised shake-up, delivered to the local news outlet El Paso Matters, never came — even as COVID deaths soared at the facility. 

More than a quarter of its infected residents died, nearly double the average 13% death rate across El Paso County’s 21 nursing homes. 

And it’s not the only one. 

Nursing homes, which care for people who are already medically vulnerable, were ravaged by the pandemic. But Texas’ state-run veterans homes often were the deadliest places to be. 

The nine state homes had more than double the death rate among COVID-19-infected residents compared to other nursing homes in the state, according to a Texas Tribune-Houston Chronicle analysis of state data from the pandemic’s start until June 2021. 

Three of the state’s veterans homes — including Ambrosio Guillen in El Paso — had the highest death rate among all nursing homes in their county. Seven had a fatality rate of 25% or more, far higher than the statewide average of 11% across Texas nursing homes. 

All told, nearly 570 residents at the veterans homes tested positive for COVID-19 in Texas and nearly a quarter of them, 134, died. 

Veterans home residents are typically male and older than people in other nursing homes, and many have chronic conditions that can make them more susceptible to severe infection, Bush’s agency and experts said. The homes are often larger facilities, which studies have shown were at greater risk of outbreaks. 

But Texas’ nine veterans homes also are among about 23% nationwide that are managed by private contractors rather than the state, which residents’ advocates and experts said could expose them to cost-cutting by for-profits. 

After the Tribune-Chronicle findings were shared with Bush’s office two weeks ago, he vowed to take action to improve care — by not renewing the operators’ contracts and starting over from scratch. 

Here is the entire article that was on the front page of yesterday’s Chron: Texas veterans homes overseen by George P. Bush were often the deadliest places to be during COVID pandemic (houstonchronicle.com). 

That P fella is a disgusting piece of you know what. 

Today’s Chron front page headlines are about the COVID variant on the rise.  Hospitals are filling up.  Parents are worried about sending their children to school next month.  Mask up, folks. 

After 100 games, the team is 61-39 with a 5 ½ game lead in the AL West.  We begin an eight-game West Coast roadie today against the Mariners. Then we visit the Giants and the whiny Dodgers.   

Rinky-dink 12

Yesterday was green bin day.  My green bin is still sitting by the street waiting to get picked up. Go on ahead and raise my waters rates, please. 

I will give a take today on college sports because of politics. 

When the Southwest Conference disbanded, the UH Coogs were left out in the cold.  They are still out in the cold.  None of the super conferences have ever extended an invitation to join. 

Southwest Conference members A&M, Baylor, Tech and UT went to the Big 12.  Rice, SMU, TCU and UH were shut out. 

TCU eventually got into the Big 12.  A&M left and went to the SEC. 

Now word is that OU and UT want to skip out of the Big 12 and join the SEC. GOP legislators with ties to Baylor, Tech and TCU are up in arms.  They are visualizing a rinky-dink Big 12. 

Fellas, settle down.  Let those big boys leave and replace them with UH and maybe Tulane. It will all work out. After all, Baylor and UH just made the Final Four.   

It doesn’t have to be a rinky-dink 12. 

These legislators also have to be called out for being hypocrites after all the disdain they have shown for Austin. 

That’s funny. 

Commentary is watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies this morning and all the athletes are masked up.  That’s all you need to know. 

I dropped by my neighborhood dive last night. It is three blocks from my crib.  A bunch of bikers were there. I sat by myself at the far end of the place.  I didn’t know if they were vaccinated. 

In MLB news, next season Cleveland will be called the Guardians.  Good news for sure. 

The Astros and Rangers for three at The Yard this weekend.  

Let the games begin. 

Cornyn and DACA

The Chron E-Board today has a take on DACA and devotes some ink to Texas’ U.S. Sen John Cornyn.  Here is the Cornyn part: 

U.S. Senate John Cornyn, R-Texas, is proposing an alternative approach. In a letter, he and his colleague, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, wrote to U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cornyn proposed what he calls “targeted legislation” that would carve out protection for the Dreamers from more comprehensive immigration legislation. 

The Texas senator reminded Durbin that the Judiciary Committee had recently held a hearing on the American Dream and Promise Act, which included a tangential provision creating a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants. “As you knew when scheduling the hearing, there is no clear and politically viable path forward for such legislation in Congress,” Cornyn wrote. 

Cornyn requested “a markup of a bill that only addresses the population with the most urgent need: active DACA recipients.” 

Then Cornyn proposed exactly what he accused Durbin of doing: letting senators tack on other stuff to the bill. “We expect that such amendments would likely include proposals related to border security, interior enforcement and employment verification programs,” he wrote. 

That approach is the same Rio Grande quicksand that has hobbled every other good-faith effort to fix our immigration mess. 

It also deviates from what Cornyn told this editorial board in the heat of his election campaign, when he was still running ads in Spanish saying he “strongly supports the legalization of Dreamers.” 

Cornyn told us in October he had called President Trump directly to let him know “he no longer felt comfortable” using Dreamers as leverage to get the wall and other border-related Republican priorities. 

“I no longer believed it was moral, really, to use these young people who did nothing wrong,” Cornyn said. He lamented that “my view did not prevail” and suggested Trump was the main obstacle in helping Dreamers: “If the president would get behind it, it would provide political cover for a lot of people,” Cornyn said. “I think if it was on the floor, it would pass the Senate and it would pass the House and if the president would sign it, that would be a very important accomplishment.” 

Well, senator, you now have a president who just might sign a stand-alone DACA bill, if you had the courage to fight for it. 

Here is the entire take: Editorial: Trump is gone. What’s stopping Cornyn from supporting a clean DACA bill for Dreamers? (houstonchronicle.com). 

Cornyn is not going to do the right thing. He is going to listen to the Donald Trump base. He lacks courage to do what is right. This isn’t a hard one to figure out. He has bought into the racist BS. That is who he is. Gutless. 

I am definitely good with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi giving the heave ho to Cong. Jim Jordan and the other GOP fella.  All those guys were going to do was yell at, interrupt and berate witnesses.  They also would have spewed out lies. It would have been a clown show.  Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy should have gone the bipartisan commission route with an equal number of Democrats and GOPers.  Now we will have a thoughtful and deliberate process to get us all the facts surrounding the insurrection. 

The truth is McCarthy and his crazyarse caucus don’t want us to find out the truth. They want January 6 to go away somehow. 

Commentary has said before that I don’t do many takes on college sports because it is or was all about the coaches making money and the players not.  Well, some players are now starting to cash in of sorts.  I really won’t weigh in on the latest about a couple of Big 12 teams wanting to join the SEC. 

We have today off and then the Rangers visit us for the weekend. 

Masking Again

Commentary is going to be honest. Something about this fella I never liked since I first heard of him and saw him at Democratic Party club meetings and such a few years ago.  Here is this from the Chron:  

A Harris County civil court judge has resigned amid several allegations of judicial misconduct, including showing bias or prejudice toward litigants and attorneys on the basis of race, sex or socioeconomic status, according to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. 

George Barnstone, of Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 1, was the subject of six complaints encompassing at least seven allegations of misconduct. Those also included claims he used his judicial office to advance his private interests and made appointments violating the Texas Government Code, which bars conflicts of interest, the resignation agreement states. 

He signed the agreement on July 12, records show, and state commission Chair David Hall approved the decision Monday. 

Here is the entire Chron article: Harris County civil court judge George Barnstone resigns following 6 complaints (houstonchronicle.com). 

This is yucky to say the least.  Sigh. 

Here is a front page hard copy Chron headline today: 

Fourth COVID wave on horizon 

Here is the Chron E-Board hard copy headline today: 

Delta means we all should mask up again 

Unfortunately, mask mandates are a thing of the past. We are all on our own. 

Say what you want about NFL great Tom Brady. He did have a good line yesterday at the White House. 

Commentary got a new ride yesterday.  Well, kind of new ride. It had 4,445 miles on it when I drove it off the lot.  It has the new smell ride. It is a bit bigger than my now former Ford Escape.  It is a Ford Explorer. Hey, I still have a few campaigns left in me that requires lugging around signs. 

Yes, there is a new car shortage out there. My Escape lost its heartbeat yesterday and rather than wait for a revival of sorts, I went the new car route. It is what it is. 

The Astros celebrated Jose Altuve’s 10th anniversary of his MLB debut yesterday. Altuve had two dingers and that’s all you need to know. 

Firefighter Mess

The H-Town firefighters are in the news again. This time it’s the union chief, Marty Lancton. Marty got his job back after he was fired earlier this year by the Fire Chief.  I had forgotten about that.  Marty took his firing to an arbitrator and the arbitrator ruled in his favor against the city. 

This doesn’t need to be happening. I have said it a number of times about the H-Town Mayor and the firefighters.  We are all having to pay the price because they didn’t work out a deal after they helped the Mayor get elected in 2015. That was nearly six years ago. 

The firefighters are pretty good about collecting signatures and having their issues placed on the ballot.  They did it a few years ago.  The did it a few months ago.  They did it a few weeks ago. Their latest would have their contract go before arbitration if the voters approve their measure. 

The Mayor says he doesn’t know if the petition signatures will be counted on time.  That means it won’t be on the ballot this November. Give us a break.  There will be constitutional amendments on the ballot this November as well as HISD and HCC trustee races.  That will make it easier for both sides to convince the voters.  You know less political noise and clutter. Count the signatures and put it up for a vote. 

Bill King said the other day that not putting the firefighter arbitration measure on the ballot this November would be voter suppression.  That’s funny. 

Enough of this BS. Let’s get it all over with this November.  It’s been nearly five years of a firefighter mess in H-Town. If it can’t be worked out at city hall.  Let the voters decide.  If the measure passes, then let an arbitrator decide. 

I just learned another COVID-19 phrase.  Breakthrough case.  This means you got the COVID-19 variant even after you are fully vaccinated. Sigh. I will continue to mask up in a lot of cases.  As far as I am concerned, if a whole lot of folks choose not to get vaccinated, COVID-19 will have a reason to hang around. 

It is Dollar Dog Night at The Yard this evening. 

Getting In Shape

Commentary went to a gathering of the late Fred Arnold’s family and friends yesterday.  There were a bunch of folks there that I had not seen in a while.  It was a great event. It was held outdoors under tents and canopies. The temperature was bearable. I am glad I went. 

When the pandemic started, Commentary gave up my gym membership.  The gym let me get out easily.  After not being able to go to the gym in 16 months, I noticed it for sure.  Last week I went out and bought some weights and stuff to try to get back into shape.  I actually noticed that I could not lift as much as I used to.  That’s sad.  I am trying to get back into it. 

Hearing that fully vaccinated Texas Democratic legislators and MLB ballplayers are testing positive for COVID-19 isn’t providing me comfort to go around without a mask in indoor settings.  I will continue to keep my distance. 

Everyone knows Commentary watches “Today.” It is kind of weird that the Olympic coverage is now in full force in a country that has a COVID-19 problem.  I am thinking the coverage will have a lot of stories about athletes who test positive. 

Just so you know. Bruce Springsteen’s daughter, Jessica, is an equestrian Olympian.   

On the Texas GOP 2022 primary race for AG between Ken Paxton and George P. Bush, we are definitely going to see who the worse human being in the state is.  Both of those fellas are already lowlife campaigning. 

There is a front page Chron story on P’s General Land Office still sitting on Hurricane Harvey money while folks in H-Town’s Pleasantville neighborhood are still waiting for assistance.   

The Astros are back at The Yard for a six game homie with Cleveland and the Rangers. I am still not attending.  

My Mom

The Texas GOP House Speaker stripped Democratic State Rep. Joe Moody of his Speaker Pro Tem position for going to D.C. Here is how Rep. Moody responded: 

“The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan. Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are.” 

This is from the leaders of the House Democratic Caucus, Mexican American Legislative Caucus, Legislative Black Caucus, and Legislative Study Group: 

“We know first hand that Speaker Pro Tem Joe Moody has done more than any other member on the House Floor to protect our Chamber and the institution of the Texas House. It’s unfortunate that Speaker Phelan has been unable to do the same.

We are a coequal branch of government. When Governor Abbott decided to defund the whole legislature, Speaker Phelan was silent. There needs to be 76 members who decide who our next Speaker is, and more than 60 are not there.” 

In other words, the Speaker is letting his punkarse get owned by Abbott.  

Here is from the head of the House Democratic Caucus State Rep. Chris Turner: 

“The smartest decision Dade Phelan has made as speaker was to appoint Joe Moody Speaker Pro Tem. Joe works tirelessly to help lead the House and is respected by [Democrat] & [Republican] members. That’s why the Speaker’s decision to remove Joe is so short-sighted and so dumb.” 

It is different ballgame for sure.  

If you do Siete Food products and pay attention to the packaging, you probably notice that my Mom gets a mention on some of the products.  I think they are even putting her photo on a package of tortillas.  I have said it before, my Mom made the best flour tortillas in the world – period.  Funny thing though.  I had to do a little research on her and came across some info that I found remarkable. 

She had four kids.  My two sisters, my brother and me.  Best I can figure, after my younger sister was of school age, my Mom went to school at UH, finished there and started teaching in the La Porte ISD at the age of 40.  Wow. 

Being at a young age, I took all that for granted.  Looking way back, that was pretty special. 

Keep wearing the mask on most occasions.  Why? The Red Sox and Yankees was postponed yesterday evening because an unvaccinated Yankee player tested positive for COVID-19.  That stuff is going to happen.   

The MLB All Star Game was apparently a COVID-19 super spreader event for players.  I am glad Astros All Stars skipped the game. 

We now have 71 games left on the schedule.  We are in Chicago this weekend to play the White Sox.